A few months ago, Matt shared Kenzie Rakes’s 2015 statistics on the frequency of oral arguments in the Court of Appeals. Now that 2016 is behind us, Kenzie has crunched some updated numbers on her blog, www.ncappellatestats.com.
The chances of a case being orally argued essentially held steady from 2015 to 2016 (14% versus 12%). However, the Court of Appeals calendared approximately 16% fewer cases for decision (i.e., with or without oral argument) in 2016 than it did in either 2014 or 2015. [Note: as Kenzie points out below, these figures do not include Rule 3.1 and fast-track cases]
Statistics, however, do not explain why fewer cases were calendared. Were fewer decisions appealed? Are more appeals being filed directly in the Supreme Court? Are more cases settling before they can be calendared for decision? Or are more cases being dismissed by the Court of Appeals before calendaring?